By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s middle class will reside in Asia. The middle class will demand quality infrastructure that meets their needs, without corruption or waste.
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Unless China shifts to fewer and higher-quality infrastructure investments, the country is headed for an economic crisis, which is likely to spread to the international economy.
Asia’s economic growth has fueled a boom in infrastructure investment across the region. China has taken a lead role with its newly launched Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and its Belt and Road Initiative — also known as “One Belt, One Road” — which aims to improve connectivity and cooperation between China and the rest of Eurasia.
In October, CSIS launched its Reconnecting Asia project, which seeks to track the various initiatives by China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and other growing Asian powers to reconnect Asia and Europe via old trade routes. These modern-day Silk Roads will use highways, railroads, ports, bridges, and pipelines to reduce the travel time between the two continents. The best known of these initiatives is China’s “One Belt, One Road” in Central Asia. This is an ambitious undertaking across 43 countries that encompasses 69 percent of the global population and 60 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). The efforts to reconnect Asia with Europe will be one of the biggest forces shaping the next 30 years, bringing new markets, people, and resources into the fabric of the global geopolitical landscape. If successful, it will revolutionize logistics and create trillions of dollars in economic value through increased trade and economic activity.
This report discusses the estimated $1 trillion annual global infrastructure gap and provides recommendations on how U.S. agencies and multilateral development banks can better incentivize private-sector investment in global infrastructure.